Pictured above are my parents and I at my high school graduation in 2018. You may notice that one of these things is not like the others. That just so happens to be me. I am Asian (Vietnamese, to be exact) and my parents are white. I was adopted by my parents from Vietnam when I was just six weeks old. We came back to America when I was 12 weeks old. My family has been the biggest blessing I could have ever received. However, I’ve gotten a lot of interesting comments about my adoption because of the general population’s myths surrounding it. Since November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I want to bust some adoption myths that people have and show what the truth really is.
- You’re not loved by your birth parents.
This is quite possibly one of the worst things about adoption that I have ever heard. Most, if not all, birth parents who place their child up for their adoption do love them. Parents who place their children for adoption do it so their child can live a better life, one better than the one that they can offer. Some parents may not have the financial means to raise a child, they might have an addiction or there may be various factors affecting their ability to take care of their child. In my case, being born in Vietnam, there are not many opportunities for women. I would most likely work in the fields to make money, I wouldn’t be able to go to school, the healthcare is insufficient and the list goes on. My birth mother placed me for adoption and wanted me to come to America so that I could have the opportunities that I would not have in Vietnam. That is the most selfless kind of love I’ve experienced. Birth parents do love their children, which is why they place them in the care of someone else because they know they can’t do it themselves.
- My adoptive parents are not my “real” parents.
The idea of “real” parents is toxic and diminishing. When people say “real” parents, they mean biological. However, just because you are not blood-related doesn’t mean that your relationships are any less real. My parents have raised me for 19 going on 20 years. They’ve given me a roof over my head, fed me, made sure I had everything I needed and have been supportive of me since day one. That sounds like a parent to me. No, adoptive families are not blood-related, but that’s okay. You don’t need that to feel loved and cared for. Adoptive parents are just as real as any other parents out there.
- Teenagers are harder to deal with than babies.
In the United States, there is a disproportionate amount of older children who are in foster care and adoption systems. This stems from the misconception that older children are harder to deal with and more difficult to raise. That’s simply not true. As someone who was adopted as a baby, I can tell you just how lucky I am to have been adopted when I was. Thousands of older children wait every year to get a place they can call home. While there are more babies and younger children in foster care, it does not take them as long to get adopted or reunited with their families again. It’s unfair to not give them a chance, and besides, every child is different. What you might believe about older children may turn out to be the opposite. To read more about the effects of age on children in foster care, check out this data.
Adoption is a beautiful concept. It’s not weird and no one should be ashamed about it. This month, I challenge you to adjust your ideas about adoption and erase the myths that I mentioned above. These stereotypes do no good for the system and ostracize those who are currently dealing with the challenges of foster care or have already been adopted. I’m so thankful to have been adopted and raised by two loving parents who gave me the world, but I know this is not the case for everyone. That’s why I will advocate for this cause, and why I believe you should too. Every child deserves a home.